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Is God JUST all love?


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#1 Kisseena

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 01:17 AM

Okay, so I saw this recent argument on the Internet where someone was saying that God doesn't punish anyone because he is all loving and wouldn't harm anyone. I just wanna see what you guys think about this, and I know a lot of you aren't religious, but I think you can still put your input, because I saw an atheist put their opinion in.

I guess I'll put in what I think.
I believe that God is all loving and merciful... to a certain extent. If someone is going to go and sin all the time and expect that absolutely nothing will happen to them, then I think they should think again. God is like that to those who will serve Him, and to others that He's giving a chance to. A chance meaning that He's trying to have them give their life to Him. (Converting is what I'm trying to get at.)
But if someone is just doing bad things left and right and they're all like, "Oh, nothing will happen to me because God is all loving and merciful and he won't punish me. He'll just forgive me, but I'm gonna keep on doing what I'm doing," then it's very likely that something not good is gonna happen in their lives.
A punishment from God doesn't necessarily mean that he hates you. God doesn't hate anyone. (Don't listen to those people that say God hates people. God doesn't hate anyone. He loves everyone He just doesn't like the sins that they do. I'm looking at you Westbro Baptist Church. :e_e: )
If someone is faithful and they serve God and they're true, then God will bless them. And if something bad comes along in someone's life, I believe that it's the devil just putting a bump in the road, and it's also a test from God to see if you'll stay faithful through the good and the bad. (The story of Job is a good example.)

It just really bothers me when people are all like, "God is all loving he won't punish you blah, blah, blah!" I think they just use it as an excuse to do whatever they want.

But yeah. That's just me. >.>
What do you guys think? I hope this makes sense. I've been thinking about this for awhile. I just wanna see what you guys think about this, and I wanna see what others who aren't religious think.

I hope this makes sense and didn't come off too preachy.

#2 HylianHero

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 03:13 AM

I generally agree with your statements (if you're talking about the God of the New Testament). The God of the Old Testament was very different and very "fire and brimstone"-y. I think that if there is a God, he definitely punishes people for their bad deeds. I've noticed in my own life (be it God, Karma, or whatever you would like to call it) that when I do something bad, often something bad happens to me as well. God doesn't hate anyone, and that's the point (Westboro are idiots).

As for my very general religious beliefs, I don't really know. I guess I would say I'm sort of agnostic/sort of unitarian. I think that all of the major religions pray to the same God, but call it different names. I'm not sure which one is necessarily right, or if only one group will end up in this "Heaven."

I wish that people had more of a conscience to take credit for when they do good things, and own up when they do evil deeds. I think that hiding behind screens of "Well I'm a Christian who's saved and it doesn't matter" is pretty stupid.

#3 Sir Deimos

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 08:11 AM

Personally, I say there is no god. And if there is, he likely doesn't have any interest in our affairs. Or maybe he does, and he just lacks the power to involve himself in our lives.

#4 Showsni

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 09:55 AM

God is loving, but you have to accept His love to be saved.

God gave everyone a chance to be saved, no matter how bad a sinner they are, by sending His son, Jesus, to die for us. If we simply accept that sacrifice, then we will be saved. On the other hand, if we don't accept Jesus, we won't be saved. People who continue to sin and won't properly accept Jesus won't be saved by God, however loving He is.

Christianity is pretty simple, as I see it:

1. God created the heavens and the Earth. God saw everything He had made, and saw it was good.

2. All men have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

3. The wages of sin is death.

4. God so loved the world, He sent His only son Jesus Christ, so that whoever believes in Him shall not die, but have eternal life.


#5 Selena

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 10:38 AM

In the effort to not derail the thread, let's not turn this into another theist vs. atheist debate - that's not the point. Within the context of Christianity, is God just all love?

#6 Twinrova

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 11:18 AM

I pretty much agree with you, Kissy. I don't believe in God but for those that do, the mindset of "I can do whatever I want and it won't matter" is pretty silly. I don't think they really understand their own religion. I think a lot of people don't really understand their own religion (insert another comment about WBC :P).


Also Kissy, I wouldn't worry about sounding "preachy" if you want to talk about God or your religion. As someone who hates it when people get "preachy", it's only really annoying when someone tries to talk about God at me rather than with me, if that makes sense. Basically, I'm fine with people who want to talk about God with the understanding that I'm an atheist and won't be converting, but the minute someone tries to tell me I'm wrong is when I get mad. I've seen you bring up your religion plenty of times without trying to get preachy about it, so I think you're fine. :3

#7 canas is back

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 11:32 AM

God loves us, but is a perfect being of justice. Laws have been set and the punishment affixed. For him to go against what he has set would make him cease to be God (don't ask me about all the details, I don't know exactly how it works). That is why Jesus Christ was sent, so that the ends of the law could be fulfilled and mercy be extended to us. We are able to partake of the atonement through Faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, Baptism, receiving the gift of the holy ghost and enduring to the end (by being obedient) otherwise justice will be in full effect.
http://www.lds.org/s...lma/42?lang=eng (Book of Mormon, alma 42, it is what I base my statement off of)
http://www.lds.org/m...05-the-mediator (A video for those who don't want to read[sorry I couldn't seem to embed it])

Edited by canas is back, 23 April 2012 - 11:33 AM.


#8 Egann

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 12:55 PM

"God is Love" is a quote straight from 1 John 4:16 that's rarely understood properly. Literally it makes no sense; God's a person. Love is an action. The two don't jive conceptually all that cleanly; it's certainly true that you can't reverse them and say "Love is God" as if you can love people a lot and suddenly become God. John's point was that love ought to be the defining factor in human relationships because it was the defining factor in God's relationship with us. John got a little carried away with his clause level meaning, but in the context of the whole letter, that meaning's rather clear.

I think that, yes, God loves everybody, and no; that doesn't mean everybody gets the happy ending. God's love means you get what you want in the end; the question is whether or not what you wanted was what you thought it was. God is all about the slow and patient and the big scale.

That was horribly unclear. Let me put in a specific example.

"...for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me..."Exodus 20: 5

Over the course of several generations, ideas go from idealizations to everyday practice and you see their effects. On such a large scale, being in the wrong is its own punishment and, by its cause and effect nature, there is always time for pennance and punishment always fits the crime. God is all about blessing the people who obey him with material wealth (or even just abide by the laws in places which obey him)...when you look at the absurdly large scale of many generations.

On the individual level? Of course God loves everybody, but the same logic of the large scale delay applies with personal inaccuracy. The universe is this way specifically to avoid Pavlovian conditioning; you have to understand the reasoning behind the interactions and take action on faith (in both the individual and corporate scales) rather than mindnumbingly do what you are told.

Speaking of which, I define "obeying God" rather loosely. I have had God speak to me clearly once and only once in my life. I asked him why we never talked and he said back, "we do all the time; you're just not aware of it," in a voice which sounded exactly like myself thinking. Since then, I figured that God wasn't going for a planet full of obedient church-goers who sing and listen to sermons, tithe and pray before every meal (nothing wrong with that; it's just not for everyone) but even the most ardent Atheists will eventually get an unconscious sense of his presence.

#9 MikePetersSucks

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 01:07 PM

This 'controversial' thread is a bit one-sided, lemme mix it up.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. - 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Does God possess these qualities? Some of these are debateable, but God experiences jealousy, he keeps a record of wrongs, and given that evil exists in the world, I'm not sure he qualifies for "always protects" either.

#10 Hana-Nezumi

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 02:36 PM

Well first off I'm an atheist. But I do find the idea of an all-loving God more appealing than the "fire and brimstone" one, so, this might be what I would believe if I was Christian. This is just my interpretation of the usual explanation I've heard for the "God loves everyone" concept. I think the idea is, those who follow Him are blessed and will be rewarded in Heaven... and the bad things that happen to those who don't follow Him aren't "punishments", but are instead the result of rejecting the gift of God's glory. In other words, God doesn't send people to Hell. Hell is just where you happen to go if you say "no thanks" to Heaven by not following Him. And, even though He is infinitely loving and WILL forgive anyone who really WANTS to be forgiven, if you spend your life committing sins rather than devoting yourself to God, that basically says you would really rather be sinning it up with that devil than holying it up with God for eternity, anyways... and since He is so loving He will let you do as you wish.

#11 Steel Samurai

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 02:45 PM

In a word - Yes.

"There is no condemnation for those who are under Christ Jesus"

"If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day."

As I see it, God created humanity to function correctly in a certain way. When mankind does not act the way he or she is designed to then it naturally causes damage and brokenness is the result of that damage. God allows humanity to do that which they desire to because he loves them. If they desire to not have a relationship with them, he allows that, and if they choose to behave in a way that they were not designed to then physical, mental, and emotional consequences will result.

#12 Kisseena

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 06:32 PM

I feel like I wasn't specific enough on what I said before, so I'm kind of using this to clear up what I meant.

In a word - Yes.

"There is no condemnation for those who are under Christ Jesus"

"If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day."

As I see it, God created humanity to function correctly in a certain way. When mankind does not act the way he or she is designed to then it naturally causes damage and brokenness is the result of that damage. God allows humanity to do that which they desire to because he loves them. If they desire to not have a relationship with them, he allows that, and if they choose to behave in a way that they were not designed to then physical, mental, and emotional consequences will result.


I had to call my mom to make sure I was right about what I was thinking.
I believe that God doesn't judge people on Earth until Judgement Day, and that comes after he picks up His church and such. Then that's when He'll go back and say all the things you did wrong and right.

And I also believe that God created humanity with free will, which is why He can't make us love Him. But He loves everyone no matter what they do. And whatever bad things happen to us are usually always cause by us ourselves because of our choices, but God kind of allows them to happen because of the path you choose... if that makes sense. Like, he allows the punishment to happen, or He kind of sets it up as such.

Well first off I'm an atheist. But I do find the idea of an all-loving God more appealing than the "fire and brimstone" one, so, this might be what I would believe if I was Christian. This is just my interpretation of the usual explanation I've heard for the "God loves everyone" concept. I think the idea is, those who follow Him are blessed and will be rewarded in Heaven... and the bad things that happen to those who don't follow Him aren't "punishments", but are instead the result of rejecting the gift of God's glory. In other words, God doesn't send people to Hell. Hell is just where you happen to go if you say "no thanks" to Heaven by not following Him. And, even though He is infinitely loving and WILL forgive anyone who really WANTS to be forgiven, if you spend your life committing sins rather than devoting yourself to God, that basically says you would really rather be sinning it up with that devil than holying it up with God for eternity, anyways... and since He is so loving He will let you do as you wish.


Well see, God is all loving, but what I was trying to say is that there is that fire and brimstone part of Him as well. I kind of think of it as "tough love." He'll punish people in an attempt to try and lead them to the right path. Kind of like our parents do when they punish us. My church kind of describes it as the Hand of God falling down on that person.


And if anyone was wondering exactly what kind of faith or "denomination" I am, it's Pentecostal. I dunno, I just thought I could put that out there. XD
If I don't make sense, let me know, I'm not used to talking about my faith because I'm always scared that people will put me down for it. I know it won't happen here, which is why I started this topic. If I don't know how to answer something, I'll let you know and ask my grandma about it because she's a pastor, so yeah. :P

Edited by Kisseena, 23 April 2012 - 06:34 PM.


#13 Goose

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 07:13 AM

I feel like I wasn't specific enough on what I said before, so I'm kind of using this to clear up what I meant.


In a word - Yes.

"There is no condemnation for those who are under Christ Jesus"

"If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day."

As I see it, God created humanity to function correctly in a certain way. When mankind does not act the way he or she is designed to then it naturally causes damage and brokenness is the result of that damage. God allows humanity to do that which they desire to because he loves them. If they desire to not have a relationship with them, he allows that, and if they choose to behave in a way that they were not designed to then physical, mental, and emotional consequences will result.


I had to call my mom to make sure I was right about what I was thinking.
I believe that God doesn't judge people on Earth until Judgement Day, and that comes after he picks up His church and such. Then that's when He'll go back and say all the things you did wrong and right.

And I also believe that God created humanity with free will, which is why He can't make us love Him. But He loves everyone no matter what they do. And whatever bad things happen to us are usually always cause by us ourselves because of our choices, but God kind of allows them to happen because of the path you choose... if that makes sense. Like, he allows the punishment to happen, or He kind of sets it up as such.

Well first off I'm an atheist. But I do find the idea of an all-loving God more appealing than the "fire and brimstone" one, so, this might be what I would believe if I was Christian. This is just my interpretation of the usual explanation I've heard for the "God loves everyone" concept. I think the idea is, those who follow Him are blessed and will be rewarded in Heaven... and the bad things that happen to those who don't follow Him aren't "punishments", but are instead the result of rejecting the gift of God's glory. In other words, God doesn't send people to Hell. Hell is just where you happen to go if you say "no thanks" to Heaven by not following Him. And, even though He is infinitely loving and WILL forgive anyone who really WANTS to be forgiven, if you spend your life committing sins rather than devoting yourself to God, that basically says you would really rather be sinning it up with that devil than holying it up with God for eternity, anyways... and since He is so loving He will let you do as you wish.


Well see, God is all loving, but what I was trying to say is that there is that fire and brimstone part of Him as well. I kind of think of it as "tough love." He'll punish people in an attempt to try and lead them to the right path. Kind of like our parents do when they punish us. My church kind of describes it as the Hand of God falling down on that person.


And if anyone was wondering exactly what kind of faith or "denomination" I am, it's Pentecostal. I dunno, I just thought I could put that out there. XD
If I don't make sense, let me know, I'm not used to talking about my faith because I'm always scared that people will put me down for it. I know it won't happen here, which is why I started this topic. If I don't know how to answer something, I'll let you know and ask my grandma about it because she's a pastor, so yeah. :P


I"m glad you feel comfortable posting here. This is why the controversial forum was created. It is a safe place for people to agree, disagree and learn from each other. I've learnt more about my faith from the people here than anywhere else.
I've also questioned more about my faith here than anywhere else, and I've come out the better for it. I also learnt how to treat others decently on here. It is a safe place Kissy.

I'm also pentecostal. The happy clappy kind. But respectful of others beliefs. Its interesting to note that those of the Jewish, the Christian and the Muslim faiths all believe in the one God. The God of Abraham. Allah and Yaweh are one in the same.

I disagree with you about God doing the punishing, but more letting us eat cake. Imagine a fat kid who loves chocolate cake, and being allowed to eat a whole cake until he feels ill. God will let us make our own choices, but we also then have to live by them. A parent doesn't stop loving a kid if they throw up because they ate too much cake. He's the kind of God that will hold up our heads as we vomit and pat us on the back saying its going to be okay. He might just bring out the video on our twenty first birthday to show all our friends. And the one where we ran around the house naked as a one year old. That one always comes out.

*note. Replace "Cake" with "Vodka" and "fat kid" with "Most teenagers" and the illustration still works.

#14 Twinrova

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 10:12 AM

Imagine a fat kid who loves chocolate cake, and being allowed to eat a whole cake until he feels ill.


How about just a kid who loves chocolate cake, yeah? Pretty sure most kids love cake, not just the fat ones.

#15 Sir Deimos

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 03:19 PM

I don't like cake and I am of average weight for my height.

#16 Twinrova

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 03:59 PM

I said kids. ಠ_ಠ

#17 Mark

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 07:50 PM

I have allways had a little issue with the strict 'God=Love' thing, because as Egann aptly put, "The two don't jive conceptually all that cleanly"

My understanding is that when John's gospel says that 'god is love' I understand this to be a fancy way of saying that 'god is loving'.
One of the things that it does not seem to say to me is that 'god loves everyone' (does he love satan?) or that 'god loves every human' (bible says that God hated esau).
Keep in mind that God is the kind of thing that is supposed to have deliberately 'hardened the heart of pharoh' to a reaction so that he could later issue the order for the death of every first-born in the whole nation of Egypt (men women and children) in a single night for the purpose of displaying his 'mighty works' for future generations.
Is God supposed to have suddenly jumped out of character?

I once constructed a thought experiment like this: imagine a universe with a huge number of humans and an 'all-loving' god, and imagine that it simply was the case that if this god were to make the life of one of thoes people permanantly really bad, then he could make the lives of every other somewhat better permanantly. suppose then that this kind of action is optimum and God does make such an action. so for the masses he makes the life of one really bad forever - is it fair to say that god is loving that person?

perhaps a little academic for taste, but consider Job - God made the life of Job pretty darn bad for quite a period of time without his being in any blame, without his concent and without an appology (so that God could win a bet with satan for whatever further purposes). is it fair to say that God was loving to Job when gave the permission for satan to destroy nearly every facet of his life?

I think that if the "god is love" stuff is to have any coherence within christianity it really should be very far away from "God doesn't punish anyone because he is all loving and wouldn't harm anyone"

(I suppose if you believe that all this is too old testament, consider ananias and sapphira)

I understand the debate of 'how can a loving god send people to hell' is a little different and I think fairly convoluted, so till another day.

Edited by Mark, 01 May 2012 - 08:25 PM.


#18 Reflectionist

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 06:56 AM

Some pretty good responses here. I agree with what a lot is said, but I also disagree with a lot of it. That pretty much accurately sets the stage for my opinion...

Kiseena asks, "Is God just all love?"

I say yes and no. God is love. But that doesn't make Him less of anything else--logical consistency is fundamentally a human construct, and not one that a divine creator is obligated to conform to. (I mean, if you want to say that God is subject to logical consistency, go for it. But then what's the point of your god? I'd think your god's kind of a pansy-ass not any Absolute basis for anything at all and I'd have a really hard time taking seriously whatever it is you call faith.) That aside... I'd like to present two scriptural references for consideration:

Isaiah 45:7. (Foreseeing the argument, the Hebrew is Ra', or רָ֑ע. Here is a cross reference of all the contexts in which this particular word appears in the Bible. It means evil, and only evil. God creates evil.)

And....

Matthew 5:45. (This one's pretty self-explanatory in any translation, really.)

My opinion? God is wholly love, and wholly evil. Christ died for Gandhi, Bush, Hitler, Republicans, Democrats, Dan Brown, the Cleveland Browns, the Chicago Cubs, Muslims, Hindus, Dungeon Masters, and Fred Phelps... just as much as for Shane Claiborne, Bono, Al Sharpton, Tim Tebow, Billy Graham, and CS Lewis. And I'd imagine He probably listens to both Nickelback and Third Day, and watches Jersey Shore in between TiVo marathons of the Passion of the Christ and Bruce Almighty, because they're His kids too and He loves them (whether we like it or not) and there's not really a whole hell of a lot that we can or should do about it. And you know what? I kind of prefer it that way--life sucks when people try to tell other people how to live. I'd rather just love them, and be an ass about it.

---

EDIT -- I updated the links to KJV, since I just read that the OP is Pentecostal and I'm pretty sure that's what the UPC prefers. Also, I dig the civility in the thread so far. Weird change, but welcome.

Edited by Reflectionist, 29 May 2012 - 07:55 AM.


#19 Kisseena

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 08:57 AM

I just wanted to clarify that by God I mean Jesus. God himself doesn't have as much mercy as Jesus. (As you can clearly tell in the Old Testament)

Also, Jesus does love Satan, believe it or not. And like reflectionist said, he loves everyone, no matter how evil or stupid. However, that doesn't mean at those people won't get what's coming to them.



#20 Reflectionist

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 09:12 AM

In my particular theology, God and Jesus are the same person. So... so did I.

#21 Mark

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 02:48 AM

God loves satan...

why do you say that?

#22 Kisseena

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 03:01 AM

Because God loves everyone. He just doesn't love their actions.
But that doesn't mean that the Devil isn't going to get punished. God will eventually kick his butt for good and keep him in Hell for all of his evil doings.

#23 SOAP

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 02:46 PM

My short answer is that Love is a human construct, much like the words Good and Evil. They usually can only apply to human actions towards other humans, though we try to force them on things that aren't human. "I just won the lottery! The universe must love me!" "That evil vending machine just ate my dollar!" Stuff like that. I'd say God is beyond Good and Evil, therefore beyond Love as we define it. There's many human definitions of love but usually they boil down to that to love someone, you act "good" towards them and not "evil." At the very least we try out best not to do "evil" unto those we love. How do we attribute the characteristic of being Loving to something beyond Good and Evil?

Beats me! This was suppose to be a short answer. I'll try to wrap this up.

I guess you could say God's Love is closest to a parent's love for their child. He created us so it's assumed he must care about us. Also, like a parent, he has rules for us to follow. And like a parent, he might not actually abide by those same rules. He created the rules for us not himself. Like any child, of course we begin to question those rules. We say they're unfair. That God doesn't always follow those rules. He tells us not murder and to love our enemies but commands his followers to commit genocide on unbelievers and to even slay their own friends and family for something as small as growing crops the wrong way.

If there is a God, then he's a being that sees a much larger picture than what hurts us right here and now. So when things don't go our way we assume that either God does not love us or even care about us or that he does but we did something wrong and he's punishing us. Maybe it's neither. Maybe it's an evil that God has to visit upon us, not out of spite or his personal amusement, but to make something good out of it. A young girl gets hit by a car and dies forcing her parents to have to bury their own child but her heart ends up saving the life of someone else. Maybe that guy ends up being an ungrateful asshole, but he exist now when he could've been dead and that changes things. Maybe he meets a woman and they have a kid, who would have never existed, had that girl not died. That kid grows up to president or a doctor discovers the cure for AIDs. Life is messy and random but things work out somehow. With that in mind, God is All-Loving. You just can't force him to fit what your wants and needs.

I dunno. I'm mostly making this all up anyways but that's what I'd think if God existed. I believe in Emergence so basically if I believe if there i a God, then his love is something that emerges from a combination of all things that happen to us that we consider good and evil.

#24 J-Roc

J-Roc

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Posted 25 June 2012 - 05:58 PM

God loves satan...

why do you say that?


If that is indeed the argument in a nutshell, I love your thesis :wub: